Pa. Girls: Thurs. Pa. girls: Defense sends Nazareth to first semifinal

Posted: June 08, 2013

Two-thirds of Nazareth Academy's softball practices are focused on hitting, assistant coach Ray Keough said.

But lately, the Pandas have been fine-tuning their defense, he said, and on Thursday it showed as they used a series of great catches to edge Bethlehem Catholic, 2-1, in the PIAA Class AAA state quarterfinals at Fleetwood.

The win sends Nazareth to its first state semifinal.

Sophomore centerfielder Tamara Jennings ended the fourth inning with an over-the-shoulder grab with her back to the infield. The catch stranded a pair of Bethlehem Catholic runners. Jennings also went 2 for 2 with two RBIs and a walk.

Molly Scullion, a rightfielder, sealed the win in the seventh by spearing a line drive in foul territory and also making a shoestring catch as she ran near the edge of the infield.

Emily Shellenberger earned the win, striking out one in seven innings.

"They believed in it today, and it was the pitching and defense that got us through it," Keough said.

Class AAAA. Christina Bascara went 4 for 4 with a grand slam, and Pennsbury cruised past Cumberland Valley, 14-3, in a quarterfinal at Fleetwood. Jess Greenwald went 3 for 5 with a run scored, and Suzanne Swanike had three RBIs. Michelle George added a pair of hits.

Class AA. Shannon Stricker went 3 for 4, but Conwell-Egan fell to Holy Redeemer, 5-3, in the quarterfinals in Allentown. Gina Massaro, the losing pitcher, drove in two runs.

Class A. Bristol trailed Northeast Bradford, 2-0, in the third inning of the quarterfinal at Lebanon Valley College when the game was suspended because of rain.

Contact Matt Breen at

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